About United Way of South Central Indiana

For over 65 years, United Way of South Central Indiana has improved people’s lives by working to address our community’s most pressing needs. We bring together expertise, funding, and volunteer support to positively impact the resilience of our community, and those who live within it. In partnership with others, we work to eliminate inequities experienced by low-income and diverse populations so that all people have a safe, healthy home environment, achieve their educational potential, and increase their financial stability. We commit to building bridges across cultural, racial, religious, and economic boundaries. We create and sustain solutions to the most pressing issues in Brown, Greene, Lawrence, Monroe, Orange and Owen counties.

Your gift to United Way touches 1 in 3 community members each year. The United Way network is characterized by its unique commitment to collaboration and mutual support. This approach enables us to better address the needs of our community. By donating to United Way of South Central Indiana's Community Action Fund, you can contribute to the vital work of all United Way partner agencies. From providing meals, safe shelter, and after-school care to disaster recovery, healthcare access, and financial stability, you gift to the Community Action Fund will address the most critical needs facing our region.

The United Way Community Impact Committee (comprised of United Way Board members, agency representatives, and other volunteers) reviews applications from local agencies requesting funds to support local solutions to our region's most pressing needs. Guided by our current investment framework and community needs data, this committee determines where monies donated to the Community Action Fund will have the greatest impact. Each United Way partner has been carefully reviewed, adheres to an inclusive non-discrimination policy, and meets stringent standards of nonprofit efficiency, effectiveness, governance, and transparency.

Beyond flexible funding for operating critical programs, United Way acts as a supporter and convener, offering our partner agencies and other local nonprofits access to resources, materials, technical support, and professional development opportunities.

In addition to working with our partner agencies, United Way of South Central Indiana also works with numerous other partners on collaborative initiatives.

We are proud to be certified members of United Way Worldwide and the Indiana United Ways but retain local control—all of our decisions are made locally. Over 98% of your gift remains in south central Indiana helping families, friends, neighbors, and co-workers meet critical needs today and prepare for the future.

Proud Members of the following organizations:

United Way Worldwide Membership Certification logo     Greater Bloomington Chamber Member Badge 2022    Downtown Bloomington Inc Member logo    Indiana United Ways logo    Guidestar seal     Greater Ellettsville Chamber of Commerece logo

The United Way idea took shape almost 120 years ago in Denver, Colorado. The founders (four religious leaders) felt Denver should have leadership and coordination to meet the growing social service needs of local citizens. Business leaders supported the effort, for they saw advantages in having a single organization solicit and distribute funds to address the social issues of industrialized cities. The concept spread throughout the country.

Watch a video history of United Way of Monroe County (PowerPoint, 7mb).

Review the history of our leadership.

A brief history of our United Way:
1906    A group of Bloomington citizens comes together to collectively solve community problems—forming the Council of Social Agencies. Mrs. Mary Waldron, who led four of the agencies, becomes the Director.

Community Chest forms with a goal of $20,000.

Council of Social Agencies reconvenes after the war.

Bloomington and Monroe County United Fund officially incorporates on February 27. The fall campaign raises $118,184.

CSA changes name to Monroe County Community Council.

MCCC and United Fund publish community-wide directory of human service providers, now called the IRIS Manual.

First comprehensive Community Survey highlights areas of need. Series continues, resulting in the 1991 COMPASS, the 1998 SPAN/MC, and the 2003 Service Community Assessment of Needs (SCAN).

MCCC changes name to Community Service Council.

United Fund changes name to United Way.

Annual campaign raises over $500,000.

Annual campaign raises over $1 million and the Vanguard Leadership Giving Program begins.

Indiana University surges in giving — becoming the second-largest United Way campaign in the Big 10.

United Way of Monroe County forms a partnership with Community Service Council. In 2001, UW and CSC merge, adopting the name United Way Community Services of Monroe County.

Project Giant Step funding from the Lilly Endowment through the Indiana United Ways, formerly the Indiana Association of United Ways, provides Internet access for the social service community.

United Way establishes an endowment with the Community Foundation.

United Way begins to focus on achieving seven community goals:

  • Everyone should have sufficient food.
  • Everyone should have a safe place to live.
  • Everyone should have access to basic health care.
  • People in crisis should have access to emergency services.
  • Children and youth should have the opportunity to grow and prosper.
  • Everyone should have the skills and support to enter and stay in the workforce.
  • Seniors should be supported in their efforts to be independent.

United Way forms the Workforce Preparation Network, a collaboration of 40 community partners. The Network implements coordinated and sustainable strategies for improving career preparation and advancement. It helps our citizens face the challenges of the 21st century economy and seize its inherent opportunities.

United Way celebrates 50th Anniversary. Name changes to United Way of Monroe County, reflecting association with United Ways nationwide.

United Way of Monroe County launches Born Learning to help parents, caregivers, and our community create early learning opportunities for young children.

Area 10 Agency on Aging, with support from United Way of Monroe County, premiers the 2-1-1 information and referral service for Monroe and Owen counties, along with an online database.

Floods hit the area hard. United Way of Monroe County leads the Monroe County Long Term Recovery Committee, which assists 500 families for two years as they recover. In 2011, the Committee transitions into the MoCOAD (Monroe County Community Organizations Active in Disaster), which includes nonprofits, businesses, local government, and faith organizations.

United Way of Monroe County partners with the Community Foundation to launch Monroe Smart Start, a countywide birth-to-five coalition. This initiative brings families and communities together to ensure that children enter kindergarten healthy, happy, and ready to succeed.   

The Financial Stability Alliance for South Central Indiana is formed by United Way and a steering committee of over a dozen committed partners. FSA increases collaboration among service providers and provides financial stability programs in Greene, Monroe, and Owen counties. FSA hosts its first event, at which 40 providers share information about their programs and services.

United Way of Monroe County works with financial institutions. nonprofits, and local government to  launch Bank On Bloomington. This initiative helps people receive financial education, open bank accounts, avoid payday loans and check-cashing fees, and build savings.

The Financial Stability Alliance and United Way of Monroe County conclude a second successful year of coordinating the Free Community Tax Service. Filed returns increase 143% in those two years. FSA also develops the community's first comprehensive financial stability guide.

Monroe Smart Start releases a kindergarten readiness guidebook and checklist, approved by both Monroe County Community School Corporation (MCCSC) and Richland-Bean Blossom School Corporation (RBBSC). Literacy and community engagement are built through B is for Bloomington, a child's alphabet guide to notable area features (available through Bloomington Area Birth Services).  

Just as children develop language skills long before they are able to speak, they also develop literacy skills long before they are able to read. Let's Read, sponsored by United Way, Monroe Smart Start, WTIU, and Southern Indiana Pediatrics, launched to inform parents of this critical time in their child’s development and to provide books and other early learning resources to families at wellness visits from six months to five years.

After four successful years of the Free Community Tax Service, MyFreeTaxes.com launched. This allowed for individuals making under a certain threshold to file their taxes using a free online filing service from the comfort of their own home.

An innovative new tool was made available for students, parents, and counselors. Developed by United Way, the Chamber of Commerce, and the High School Plus Coalition, the Roadmap to Success is an interactive website that can help users in Monroe County navigate resources that increase high school success and graduation rates, as well as encourage college and career readiness.

Dollars & Sense, a program that aims to nurture and encourage good financial habits and provide access to appropriate financial products and services for Monroe County teens, launched in 2016. In partnership with several local agencies, teens are able to attend workshops that teach them how to manage their finances, set goals, and understand the difference between wants and needs.

To build financial literacy in our community, United Way is launched a free year-long Financial Coaching pilot program for 10-20 participants. Financial coaching is quickly gaining recognition on a national level as a proven, effective way to help people significantly improve their financial well-being.  

Stamp Out Hunger, the largest single-day food drive, celebrated its 25th anniversary by collecting a record-setting amount of food, with 48,826 pounds of food from Monroe County alone! The branch-wide total was 94,030 pounds which included Monroe, Morgan, Davies, Greene, Orange, Owen, Brown, Lawrence Counties, and Putnam counties.

When 4 tornadoes ravaged parts of Owen, Monroe, and Greene counties, United Way launched a relief fund, helping low-income households with needed repairs and debris removal efforts so they may remain safely in their homes.

To advance community awareness of important topics in the social service sector, the Wake Up! with United Way series was launched in partnership with Indiana University’s PACE program.

In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, United Way mobilized the COVID Community Coalition, along with partners from the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation, the Bloomington Health Foundation, the Ellettsville Chamber of Commerce, and the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce. This group of cross-sector community leaders met regularly throughout 2020 and 2021 to coordinate response and recovery efforts.

United Way of Monroe County also launched the COVID-19 Relief Fund, which by 2021 had raised and distributed over $2.2m to nonprofit organizations in Monroe, Owen, Greene, and Brown counties impacted by the pandemic.

Launched the Opportunity Fund, in partnership with Financial Stability Alliance members, to provide one-time grants to individuals with unique barriers to economic mobility and stability.

In partnership with the Community Foundation of Bloomington Monroe County, brought together a working group to update our community’s Heading Home Plan to Make Homelessness Rare, Brief, and Non-Repeating. The Plan was shared with the community in August 2021.